Let's Dance

Posted May 28, 2009

Let's Dance

When did we suddenly become a nation of street dancers? This is the question I ask myself as I tune into Britain’s Got Talent. From solo body poppers to perfectly synchronised hip hop groups, we are producing an abundance of top rate dancers who are as good as, if not better than any in America.

It hasn’t always been that way though and I wonder how it has come about. I haven’t noticed, as I’ve been walking through town, kids suddenly jumping out from nowhere (like a scene from Fame) and bursting into a frenetic dance routine. Or have I just been shopping in the wrong locations?I have no pretensions about being street savvy (Piers Morgan, please take note), so I’m at a loss as to when this all happened.

Maybe there has been a huge upsurge in dance studios, the result of some spectacularly generous lottery funding. Or perhaps kids up and down the country are simply grabbing every opportunity to practice their ‘moves’ in someone’s garage, an empty car park or a playing field. Forget swine flu. Are we actually in the grip of a street dance pandemic? I really don’t know but I love the idea that secretly, these kids are honing their dancing skills ready to surprise us all.

How can this be the same youth that has received such a bad press in recent years? I’ve read all about the gangs of ‘hoodies’, the binge drinking and violent stabbings on street corners. Yet what I see on Britain’s Got Talent are groups of young people who clearly have a deep respect for each other, take pride in being together and show humility.  They say that they are “just glad to be here”.

Their acts are high energy and are exhilarating to watch but to achieve such perfect coordination takes great discipline and hours of practice. It’s as if they set their own benchmark for their performance and are motivated to prove only to themselves that they can be the best. If the viewing public and the judges happen to like what they do, then that is an added bonus.

Flawless have said that they want to inspire children from problem communities and, through dance, give them a channel for their frustration. Diversity is running street dance workshops this week at a shopping centre in Welwyn Garden City. This is all very proactive and positive.

My generation, on the other hand, seems caught up in recrimination. Who is to blame for the credit crunch? Why did nobody stop us spending so freely?  We’ve had a go at the bankers and now we’re turning the spotlight, not on ourselves of course, but on the politicians. And so it goes on and on. We have saddled our youth with a huge debt that will take generations to pay off. This is far too big a responsibility for young shoulders but the youth of this country has no choice because this is exactly what it will inherit. 

Meanwhile it is dance groups such as Diversity and Flawless that remind us of true values such as family unity and lifelong friendships. When was the last time we really thought hard about that?

Let’s hear it for our dancing youth - they have a lot to teach us!

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